The only way Angel di Maria can find his best form and re-estabilsh himself as one of the best players in the world is to leave Manchester United.
That's according to former Red Devils defender Paul Parker who, writing in his column for Eurosport, says there's no way back for the former Real Madrid man after his red card in the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat against Arsenal last night.
Di Maria picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, first for diving and then for putting his hands on referee Michael Oliver. The incident marked the latest low point in the winger's disappointing Old Trafford career to date following his record-shattering £59.7 million summer switch from the Bernabeu.
Article continues below
Di Maria managed three goals in his first five games for the Red Devils but has managed to score just twice since October - one of those goals came against Yeovil in the FA Cup - and Parker says his time with Manchester United may be up already.
Fall from grace
"A year ago he was coasting with Real Madrid and on the way to winning the Champions League; now he’s at a team who are playing like they are bottom of one of the worst leagues in the world," the former Manchester United defender said.
Article continues below
"United have been awful. And when you suffer the lows after such big highs, there are only a few people who can deal with it and Di Maria is definitely not one of them at this moment in time. To be honest, I don’t know if anyone can blame him.
Back to basics
"The only way it is going to work out for Di Maria, he only way he is going to get back to being the player he was before, is to move on. The way things are going at Manchester United, he is not going to progress as a player because the team are playing horribly and you can’t see how that situation is going to change."
Under Louis van Gaal, Manchester United have rarely convinced yet they still sit in fourth place in the Premier League with qualification for the Champions League well within their grasp.
Barring a remarkable run of form the Red Devils will finish a second straight season without a trophy - the first time that has happened since the 1980's.
"There are persistent rumours of a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and I certainly don’t think it’s impossible," Parker continued. "You can’t really afford to get a £60 million transfer wrong because you are not going to get a return on your investment, and if United sold him at the end of the season they’d lose £10m, minimum.
"If you look at the kind of teams who could spend £50m, they all, with the exception of Manchester City, are much more naturally suited to a player like Di Maria.
"PSG would suit him nicely, as would going back to Real Madrid. In England, Arsenal are the best fit for the way they shift the ball around quickly in midfield, but even Chelsea would be a better home for him than United as they are a bit more expressive now, while United have gone from being one of the most flamboyant teams in the Premier League to being in the bottom half of the table for excitement.
It's ironic that Di Maria ended probably his best performance in a Manchester United shirt for months with a red card. However there were glimpses of a £60 million player in there somewhere and the ball he delivered for Wayne Rooney's goal was sheer class - any chances the Red Devils created in the first half came through him.
To suggest he should be sold midway through his first season at a club which is undergoing a massive rebuilding process is just ridiculous. He needs time and space to get to his best - the critics should get off his back.